Two things won't be arriving anytime soon for the Browns after their heartbreaking loss to the Chargers.
Sympathy or relief.
That's why Kevin Stefanski and the Browns on Monday vowed to own the "1,000 reasons why" they didn't make the necessary plays to prevail in one of the NFL's most entertaining games thus far in the 2021 season. The undefeated Arizona Cardinals come to FirstEnergy Stadium next Sunday, and the Browns will have to be ready for even more pressure-packed moments against a team that similarly hopes to be playing well into January.
"I told the team there's 1,000 reasons why we didn't (win)," Stefanski said. "We've got to make sure we own them and get to the bottom of them because we have to be better. We'll be in similar games against similar opponents, and we'll have to come through. I certainly have to do my part there as well."
Stefanski talked extensively Monday about his role in the loss and the moments he lamented most in the back-and-forth shootout, which featured seven lead changes and a combined six touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
There was a lot to like from an offensive standpoint, as the Browns racked up a season-high 42 points and 531 yards of offense against a Chargers defense that entered Sunday's game ranked in the top half of the league in numerous categories. Cleveland dominated time of possession in the first half, built a lead as large as 14 and produced explosive plays on the ground and through the air.
Stefanski, though, kept his focus on the plays he wished he could have back, specifically the three-and-out sequence with less than 3 minutes to play and the Browns clinging to a 1-point lead.
The Browns gained a yard on a first-down carry, which was followed by a Chargers timeout, before looking for a big play through the air on second down. Baker Mayfield fired a pass Rashard Higgins' way but it fell incomplete and the clock stopped with 2:55 to play. Faced with a third-and-9, Stefanski called for a draw for Hunt, who came up well short of a first down on his 3-yard run. The Chargers let the clock run, giving themselves two timeouts and the upcoming 2-minute warning, and the Browns punted it away with 2:11 to play.
The Chargers scored the go-ahead touchdown less than a minute later.
"In hindsight, I definitely wish I did something different," Stefanski said. "This is where I have to put our guys in position to succeed. I didn't do that there and I'm sick about it.
"I've got to put our guys in position. I can't do that to our team."
Check out photos of the Browns against the Chargers in week five
The Browns landed back in Cleveland early Monday morning, and a number of MRIs were still pending when Stefanski met with reporters. He will have a clearer picture about the team's numerous injuries when he next meets with reporters before Wednesday's practice.
Among those sidelined by injuries during Sunday's game: CB Denzel Ward (neck), CB Greedy Williams (shoulder), T Jack Conklin (knee) and S M.J. Stewart (hamstring). DE Myles Garrett (knee/ankle) was also forced to the sidelines for a few plays and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah spent some time after the game in a Los Angeles-area hospital after suffering a throat contusion. Owusu-Koramoah flew back to Cleveland on Monday.
Stefanski said he'd know more in the coming days about the potential returns of CB Greg Newsome II (calf) and T Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle), both of whom were inactive for Sunday's game. DE Jadeveon Clowney, who dealt with an elbow injury leading up to Sunday's game, was ultimately scratched because his knee got sore during pregame warmups, Stefanski said.
Stefanski said WR Jarvis Landry (knee) was set to run Monday but did not have an update on his potential timeline to return. Landry, who went out with his injury Week 2 against the Texans and was placed on injured reserve, has missed three games, meaning he's eligible to be designated to return if the team believes he's ready for it.
'A Big Loss'
Stefanski confirmed T Chris Hubbard will undergo surgery on his injured triceps and is expected to miss the rest of the 2021 season.
Hubbard, who served as the Browns' versatile sixth man on the offensive line, suffered the injury Week 1 against the Chiefs. Hubbard returned to practice on a limited basis for a stretch but was shut down late last week.
"It is a big loss," Stefanski said. "He is a guy that played for us last season, played and gave us some good reps at tackle, at guard. You know how I feel about him as a person, so we are going to miss having him in the lineup both as a player and just got to make sure that he is as close to the team so we can make sure that his presence is around."